We are now four issues into the Blade Runner 2029 comic by writer Mike Johnson. After the 2019 series focused on intrigue surrounding the Selwyn family, we see Blade Runner Ashana (Ash) back on Earth, in Los Angeles. So far, this series has done things differently, more boldly. Ash has herself a girlfriend, Freysa, who is the leader of the Replicant resistance. While Ash is still on the books as a Blade Runner, she opts to help replicants now. Instead of ‘retiring’ them. This 2029 series started off with Ash discovering that there is a small replicant breakaway faction led by Yotun, a Nexus 6 replicant who should have been dead for years considering their limited lifespan. His backstory is an intriguing mystery, one that is more straightforward than the subplots of the 2019. Yotun also reminds me of Roy Batty with his will to live and desire for revenge.
A new take on Roy Batty, minus the tears
Issue #4 mainly follows Yotun as his group of replicant followers take control of the airship filled with LA dignitaries. Yotun quickly takes them hostage and promises they will have to pay for their crimes against replicants. He calls them hypocrites for banning replicants on Earth but each has a small number as part of their household staff. Now he calmly tells them and the mayor in attendance that those servants will revolt. Meanwhile Yotun directs the airship to the newly finished seawall, the place where this series started when Ash saw Yotun there. He reminds his hostages that replicant hands built the seawall and with one click of a detonator a portion is blown up. Los Angeles thus starts to flood as Yotun and his gang make their escape and deliberately cause the airship to crash. The flooding and the sudden death of the dignitaries will leave LA leaderless.
Meanwhile Ash is still being held captive by some of Yotun’s accomplices. Ash uncovers one clue as to how he managed to survive beyond his four-year lifespan. Yotun discovered a cash of Nexus 8 replicants after the 2022 uprising. He has been secretly reviving them from their stasis. Her captors repeatedly warn her that Yotun has a special purpose for her. This makes me wonder if there will be a grand revelation that Ash may actually be a replicant herself, like Rachel or Deckard, the unicorn Nexus 7. Ash briefly manages to escape with the help of a friendly replicant she declined to retire. Her short-lived freedom is a somewhat stilted attempt by the author to further the plot by ensuring she finds the secret stash of Nexus 8 replicants. While Ash does not have much to do in this issue that will no doubt change with issue #5.
Blade Runner 2029 is a fantastic series
In the opening paragraph I stated that Blade Runner 2029 does things more boldly. I think the story takes a more direct approach. Ash is more likely to immediately find the person she is looking for instead of having to barter her way around. Now the story takes place mostly on Earth, in Los Angeles and so there is less chance of getting confused with the setting. In 2019 I started to feel overwhelmed with all of the story shifts. Now, we just have Ash and Yotun with the other characters relegated to secondary status. So far in just four issues this series has managed to start a new replicant uprising. With the revolt of 2022 still fresh on people’s memory I cannot see how Yotun’s action will ensure less persecution. The animosity towards replicants as shown in Blade Runner 2049 is thus better explained, connecting more dots for fans.
So far I am thoroughly enjoying this new series. I think author Mike Johnson has found solid ground with the subject material. The art by Andres Guinaldo and coloring by Marco Lesko remain topnotch as ever. If you are a fan of the series do check it out. You can purchase individual issues on Comixology for $4.49 when they are new and cheaper afterwards. Or you can discuss them on the discussion board. There is also the second comic series, Blade Runner Origins, that has just started. You can read my review of issue #1 by following the link. As for 2029, it will go on hiatus until June 30th when issue #5 is set for release. See you then!